Commissioner's Blog: Hiring a pest controller
Your home is your most important asset, so you’ll naturally want to protect it from unwanted pests like termites and rodents.
While most people will undertake some form of simple pest control on their property, sometimes they may need to call in an expert.
In the past two years, Consumer Protection has received 203 enquiries and 48 complaints about pest control providers, mostly related to the operator not using due care and skill.
A number of complainants claimed the treatments didn’t work and in several cases went on to cause damage to the property. Another complaint involved a consumer who paid $1,000 for what they thought was a one-off treatment, but was then pursued a year later for a further $200 as they’d unwittingly signed a contract for six-years of annual inspections at this cost.
It’s therefore important to know what you’re signing by ensuring you understand the terms of the contract and the extent of the inspection.
To get the best deal, shop around before you make a choice – this means getting several written quotes and asking for the terms and warranties in writing, to work out which business will provide the most professional service at the best price to meet your needs.
You should also decide how detailed and thorough you wish the inspection of the property to be and advise the pest inspector accordingly.
Ask lots of questions- ie. What is the after-sales service policy if the work is unsatisfactory? What do any contracts or guarantees cover and what conditions apply?
Also understand what you are committing to (such as an annual inspection fee) and request written information on the pesticide to be used.
It’s smart to check that the person selling you a contract is licensed, and that the person who will be applying the pesticide holds a valid licence and is authorised to do the job – confirm these details when they arrive by checking their licence endorsements and expiry date.
When it comes to engaging a company, there’s often no substitute for word-of-mouth references – so talk to friends, family or neighbours for who they’d recommend.
For more information about the other aspects of pest control, see our website: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/pest-control
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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